Premier League

Nico Williams’ preferred transfer destination revealed

Lamine Yamal;Nico Williams

Athletic Club winger Nico Williams has been linked with Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in recent weeks and months, but the Spain star is rumoured to consider Barcelona his first choice for a summer transfer.

Williams has started to emerge from the shadow of older brother Inaki over the last couple of seasons and now, at the age of 21, is lighting up Euro 2024 with Spain in tandem with 16-year-old Barca prodigy Lamine Yamal.

His performances at the tournament off the back of consistent La Liga campaigns have made him an understandable target for clubs looking to develop for the next big thing.

While Chelsea in particular are noted as competition, SPORT writes that Williams’ “priority” is Barca. And, having seemingly established contact through an intermediary, the Premier League side have been informed as much.

Chelsea have greater financial strength on their side, with the report adding that there is a willingness to offer an annual salary in the region of €15m-€20m (£12.7m-£16.9m) – more than double the €7.8m (£6.6m) he is currently on in Bilbao. From west London, there would also be less of a problem hitting a €60m (£50.8m) release clause that would have to be paid up front.

Lamine Yamal;Nico Williams

Barcelona are hoping to unite Williams with Spain colleague Lamine Yamal / James Baylis – AMA/GettyImages

Arsenal and Liverpool are also in a stronger position than Barca, who remain on La Liga’s 1:4 spending rules despite recent optimism about getting the house in order sooner rather than later.

Barca’s chances of a deal likely rely on raising cash by other means first, hoping that Williams is patient enough to wait, and pushing the possibility of linking up with Yamal at club level. The teenage prodigy has already publicly expressed his wish to be united with his Spain colleague at Camp Nou.

Mundo Deportivo has a more optimistic outlook, acknowledging that signing Williams isn’t necessarily straightforward but claiming it could be done by cashing in on Raphinha.

Chelsea and Aston Villa were previously reported to have pulled out of the race for Williams, while Athletic’s president expressed optimism about keeping the Spain star at the club beyond the summer transfer window.

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